“Don't let your boy's schooling interfere with his education.” ~ Grant Allen, the novelist and science writer
It's Dapo Bankole here again from the Immigrant Life Podcast, the Canadian narrative. I thought to make my answer to the question of certification an episode because very similar to the question about going to school in order to secure a job or get a promotion in Canada, this is another very popular one. In fact, this question came up again very recently in my discussion with a prospective student of my BA training where I made it clear that my training does not focus on helping people to secure BA certifications rather, on getting the job done when they secure the BA job. Know that whatever decision you make, certifications require time and often significant resources and you need to be sure that it is what really counts when you are talking about getting hired or promoted in Canada.
Let's dive right into it.
In my opinion, I like to compare certification with Schooling versus education. Education is a broader means of gaining knowledge which could be formal or informal. Schooling, on the other hand, is the more formal way of getting educated. Using this lens, certification is like Schooling.
So which ones do employers prefer?
I'll make a bold statement - employers prefer anyone who can get the job done, never mind the long acronyms after their names! However, this comes with a caveat. Sometimes it depends and could be more complex than my response here.
1. Is the role you are targeting a controlled profession that requires the certification? If yes, then you really don't have a choice. Typical ones are real estate, engineering, financial services, etc
2. Does the role that you are targeting change so frequently that the changes impact your service quality or better put how well you deliver the service and in fact, in some situations the safety of lives? If yes, please go ahead with the certification. Good examples would be the Amazon Web Services space, ServiceNow certifications, Security professionals, etc
3. How experienced are you in the field? If you are very experienced and the quality of your delivery is not so much as dependent on critically changing information then you can easily get away with deprioritizing certification versus you getting skilled in actually getting the job done. e.g. Business Analysis, Project Management, Software testing, etc.
4. If you can get the job done as a junior to intermediate professional without the certification the by all means ditch the certification! When you get the job and have enough time, experience and financial cycles, then go ahead and get certified. It never hurts at this point. In fact it becomes a bow on your experience or the icing on your cake...figuratively speaking.
5. Finally, go to coffee with senior leaders/hiring managers in the industry that you are targeting and ask them what matters to them and how they perceive certifications vs skills in their hiring matrix.
That said, I will be having with me a senior leader in the consulting industry who I have had the pleasure of working with for a few years. He will be joining us in the studio to talk about this and other interesting topics related to hiring for new and established immigrants and promotion for established immigrants in the workplace!
Looking forward to it!